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Contents Page: Jan 1, 2012, vol 7 no 4

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Jonathan Scott


Periodical

Widening pores in mud—the nymph emerges. Molt—shrug the larval shroud. The brood subsumes all earthly din. Yet peel cacophony—the layers of male song—and undizzy the year of the cicada. The tuneful urge, unlearned, emerges, unrehearsed.

Magicicada—
Nearly forgotten chorus,
Tymbal serenade.

Dead man live a while longer. Molt—shrug the exo-skeletal shroud. Walk those remembered paths into the hills and higher still. There is a hut—three-sided—a testament on the peak to the way of the traveler. Rest. Read the worm-sour journal—the bequest of a dead boy.

Winds are in the east.
Deer drank fearless from the stream.
Clouds darken the day.

Any way they could make them, I ate the hash-browns. Coming down at Waffle House, sweating beer, over-flowing the ashtray. "Play that song . . . here's a quarter . . . play that song." Midnight came and went. Truckers in and out. My weight in coffee.

Alley vomit, rats
And condoms, here's a quarter,
Play that fucking song.

Earlier that life, the janitor came with sawdust. A blond boy laughed at the black boy. The black boy cried and stunk the rest of the day. His mother never came to take him home. The next day the black boy came with cookies. He hoped to cover the sawdust with chocolate chips.

The love of Jesus—
Ad infinitum, blood bleached
Children on his lap.

Locust, cricket, mantis, in the meantime. Plague, play, pray. We are the bugs. The manifest pestilence—our genius. Swarm, jump, hide. In our own soups, in our own ointments, in our own faces—we are the flies. The swatter is flimsy; the net is torn.

An impediment
Of tongue, phlegm stuck, cankerous.
Loathe and love the tang.

An afternoon arrived, autumn in tow, on burning leaves. The neighborhood kids emerged, had learned, rehearsed the welcome. Wiffle-balls interred, footballs exhumed. Church threatened to go on and on. The pastor spat flecks. On and on. Darkling daylight came too soon.

Cobwebbed cavity
Of the steeple as seen by
The condoms and rats.

Dead man tarry. Your tomb in the churchyard—empty, cold. Your unchiseled stone. A woman in white brings flowers. Pink and yellow. She kneels in the dirt. Laughter like cheering cardinals. Her shoulders sob gently. Go lift her and hold her, Dead Man, Go.

She kneels in the dirt—
White skirt. Fiddle-back spider,
Cannot help but fang.

The day had been hot. We snorkeled for sand-dollars, saw the myriad fish. My favorite was the blue one. Yours was the albino. We both swallowed salt-water over and over. Our throats stung and our bellies ached. Later, I sang to you an absurd song about the moon.

In the new moon light,
Sidereal pinholes—strafed
By earth-crossed lovers.

Michelle took Samuel by the hand, lead him under the tent. A wild haired white-man with healing hands. They watched from the back. Now a crippled soldier, now a hunchbacked grandmother. Harold needed healing, needed it bad, but not enough to move.

Glut of saints pecking
Prometheus on his cross.
Christ the Titan saves.

Earlier that life, in a three-sided hut, with the winds in the east, he remarked on fearless deer. A doe, her faun, and another doe nibbled at the cold stream. He peed behind a pine; they caught his presence on an up-wind, but did not bolt. Now and then, a moment lasts forever.

Rock-gargled water—
Eddied, flowed; gnawed, necrotic,
On the crumbling banks.

I stopped going to Waffle House when I got sober. The thought of those everything hash-browns makes me gag. The over-sugared coffee. Every night, I dream of smoking cigarettes, though—feel the guilt, the thrill, the cancer—though there are never any ashtrays. I just fling my butts wherever.

I walk the ashen
Coals, barefoot, casually,
As if on carpet.

Who will be the lover of trees? Of stone and mud and salamander? Who will hearken? Who will haggle? Who will find the cure in the thing itself and brave the first experiment? Who will bridge the parallel? Who will build an enduring Babel? Who will penetrate the rhetoric?

Riddle: What on earth
Was that? Solution: What not
In heaven was that?

Dead man get ready. Get your goods out of pawn then sell them outright. Measure a shroud, burn what you'd rather not survive you. A woman in black—her veil opaque, rosemary bouquet. Memory is the paradise she recovers at the end of a toilsome year.

The burial mound—
One final convexity
Before the caving-in.

Widening pores in mud—the nymph emerges. Molt—shrug the larval shroud. The brood subsumes all earthly din. Yet peel cacophony—the layers of male song—and undizzy the year of the cicada. The tuneful urge, unlearned, emerges, unrehearsed.

Magicicada—
Nearly forgotten chorus,
Tymbal serenade.


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